Master of Landscape Architecture

MLA students on a field trip

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program is structured to assist students in acquiring and mastering a professional level of design knowledge and skills. The curriculum at Guelph has three integrated streams: design theory and practice, landscape analysis and planning, and research inquiry and application.

In the first two years of the MLA program, learning is centred around design studios that provide the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real life projects ranging in scale from individual sites to entire communities and regions. Lecture courses, field studies and seminars provide additional opportunities to acquire knowledge and develop professional skills.  Some students elect to participate in our international exchange programs to further develop their areas of interest and to expand their professional networks.

The final year of the MLA program is focused on the individual interests of each student and on completion of a thesis. For most of our MLA students, their thesis is the first step toward a specialized area of practice or to doctoral study in landscape architecture or a related field.

MLA Program Requirements

MLA First Professional Degree Program

This program is designed for individuals with an honours degree other than the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. The prescribed studies consist of at least thirteen graduate courses (6.25 credits) and a thesis requiring six semesters of full-time study over three calendar years. Students normally register for Fall and Winter semesters each year, and request a 'Leave of Absence' during the Spring semester in order to gain practical experience.

MLA Second Professional Degree Program

Students who hold a first professional degree (BLA, BSLA) will undertake a program of study that includes both courses and a thesis. If you have recently completed your first professional degree in landscape architecture, you may expect to undertake a program of at least seven graduate courses (3.25 credits) and a thesis.

Applicants who have several years of substantial professional experience subsequent to their first professional degree will be required to undertake a program of at least five graduate courses (2.25 credits) and a thesis.

Refer to the University of Guelph Graduate Calendar for details on course requirements for each program.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of our MLA program enjoy a broad range of career opportunities. Many own or are employed by private-sector consulting firms, multi-disciplinary firms and design-build firms. As professionals, they often specialize in a particular area of practice, such as landscape restoration, golf course and resort design, community design, heritage conservation or computer visualization. A growing number of our graduates are employed by resource-based industries, including forestry and aggregate resource management. A high percentage of our MLA graduates are employed by national, provincial, regional and municipal agencies where they provide expertise within parks and recreation, community development, transportation, engineering and planning departments. Other Guelph MLA graduates choose academic careers after pursuing doctoral studies. Career opportunities for Guelph MLA graduates are enhanced by the program's national and international reputation based on thirty years of experience preparing students for careers in landscape architecture and related fields.